Many sellers with their homes on the market are wondering, "Where have all the home buyers in Loudoun County gone?" Well, the answer is they haven’t gone anywhere – they’re still right here. The reason why some sellers haven’t seen any buyers come through their property and/or why they haven’t received an offer yet is because of one reason – price.
For example, we published a post the other day on what we thought was one of the best town home deals in not only Ashburn, but all of Loudoun County. Since we published that post, we’ve found out that the property has received 8 offers. That’s right…8 (eight) offers. And those 8 offers came within less than three weeks of being on the market.
Why? Because of the price.
Here’s another example:
I am working with a buyer that has decided to place on offer on a property. In less than one week of the property being on the market, the seller received our offer and another 3. That’s 4 offers in less than a week.
Why? Because of the price.
As you can see, buyers are still out and about and in decent numbers. Just between these two properties, there are 12 ready, willing and able buyers actively looking to buy a home in Loudoun County. But they’re looking for the best deals. If a property is a great deal/value (aka priced correctly), buyers will flock to it. And in herds. If not, they’ll pass right by it without hesitation.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the new FHA mortgage limit for Loudoun County and the rest of the Washington, DC metro area. Despite what many originally anticipated ($550K to $625K), the new loan limit is $729,750.
This is the maximum amount allowed under the economic stimulus bill signed on February 13, 2008. This amount is up from $417,000.
To see the actual limits posted on HUD’s web site, click here and select ‘Virginia" and type in "Loudoun" for the county.
Note that the new limits are only for loans obtained on July 1, 2008 or later and that the loans must be funded (you must close) no later than December 31, 2008.
Here’s a look at the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage and 5/1 ARM rates in Virginia over the past 3 and 12 months. (Click on any chart to enlarge)
Here’s a chart showing the average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage in Virginia over the last 3 months:
Now here are the past 12 months:
As you can see, rates shot up almost a full point earlier this year, came down a bit in late February and are around 5.9 at the moment though pointing up.
Now let’s compare the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates to the average 5/1 ARM rates.
The situation regarding foreclosures in Loudoun County made international headlines by being featured in a story in The Economist entitled "Foreclosures In America; Searching For Plan B" (this week’s issue).
(Cross post from our sister blog, Loudoun Foreclosures)
Zillow just released their Quarterly Home Value Report for the Washington, DC metro area, including Loudoun County. It’s interesting to compare this to other reports regarding the Washington, DC metroa area as a whole, as well as 2008 assessments from the Loudoun County Assessor’s Office, which may have used a variety of methods to calculate values.
4th Quarter 2007 (October-December 2007)
|County||Home Type||"Zindex"||Quarter over Quarter Change||Year over Year Change||5 Year Annualized Change||10 Year Annualized Change|
|Loudoun County||All Homes||$418,022||-6.6%||-11.1%||5.1%||8.1%|
|Loudoun||Single Family Residence||$440,777||-6.2%||-10.6%||4.9%||7.8%|
|Loudoun||Single Family Residence, Small Size||$311,992||-7.2%||-8.8%||6.1%||8.8%|
|Loudoun||Single Family Residence, Medium Size||$343,888||-7.3%||-10.1%||6.1%||8.2%|
|Loudoun||Single Family Residence, Large Size||$514,764||-5.8%||-6.7%||5.1%||7.8%|
|Loudoun||Single Family Residence, Extra Large Size||$768,953||-4.9%||-2.8%||4.0%||6.1%|
|Loudoun||Condominium, Small Size||$199,393||-7.0%||-9.3%||10.0%||10.4%|
|Loudoun||Condominium, Medium Size||$264,137||-6.5%||-9.8%||7.5%||9.9%|
|Loudoun||Condominium, Large Size||$424,590||-6.7%||-13.5%||4.8%||6.6%|
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) just announced this morning that they will no longer be collecting taxes and fees, including the higher Grantor’s Tax, effective immediately. They are instructing people not to contact the NVTA for refunds at this time. Once they have the refund process and staff in place, they will announce the procedures at that time.
Whether this means that the clerks of the courts will stop collecting them is another story. As of yesterday, they were not told by the Attorney General to stop collecting the higher Grantor’s Tax from sellers and were continuing to do so. And there is still a 10 day appeal process available to the NVTA.
UPDATE: In light of this decision, Loudoun County’s Clerk of the Court will no longer collect the regional transportation grantor’s tax effective today, March 4, 2008. The Clerk’s office is awaiting a response from the NVTA regarding the announcement of refund procedures for grantors taxes collected since January 1st, 2008.
Here is the official press release from the NVTA:
Here is a chart showing the number of new listings per month in Loudoun County from February 2007 to February 2008 (click on chart to enlarge). The chart includes "relists", which are listings that were previously withdrawn off the market and have been later "relisted" with the same or new agent/broker.
During my closing/settlement today, I spoke with the settlement attorney regarding the Grantor’s Tax. He told me that the clerks of all the local courts in Northern Virginia said that sellers are still required to pay the new Grantor’s Tax because the courts have not been told otherwise by the Virginia Attorney General. Once they hear from the Attorney General, they will let everyone know.
So if you’re settling in the near future, be prepared to pay the higher Grantor’s Tax, but keep an eye out for what happens over the next few weeks.
We gave instructions on how to get your money back if you paid the extra grantors tax in this post. We have found out that there will be at least a ten day hold on processing these refunds due to an appeals process with the state of Virginia Supreme Court. So don’t try and get your money just yet. We will keep you posted.
Some good news…Loudoun County saw a drop in the number of and percentage of new foreclosure/REO and short-sale listings last month (February 2008) from the previous month (January 2008). For the statistics, check out this post on Loudoun Foreclosures (our other blog).